Berks dog owners urged to be cautious visiting lakes, ponds


The blue-green algae that has turned up in Blue Marsh Lake and other bodies of water across the country is raising concerns for pet owners.

In recent days, there have been reports of dogs in North Carolina getting sick or dying after going in ponds where the algae is present.

Officials said heavy rainfall and hot weather help the algae thrive, so right now, you might not see the algae and foam on top of the water at Blue Marsh, but you still want to be careful.

"It's too risky at this point," said dog owner Margie Bingaman, "and you know, why risk that?"

Experts said blue-green algae blooms can produce toxins that impact a dog's liver. Dogs that come in contact with the algae could experience seizures.

"She's not getting in any water except the water I give her," said Bingaman.

The algae has been detected in the water at Blue Marsh, but not at toxic levels. Veterinarians said reconsider taking your pet to the lake anyway.

"If you have a pet that has any type of immune compromise, the littlest dose or exposure could be very severe for them," said Paige Ganster with Ark Animal Hospital.

Ganster said dogs with strong immune systems might not be impacted.

While blue-green algae is causing concerns, vets at Ark said it's not the reason they've seen an influx of appointments for sick dogs.

"We haven't necessarily correlated it to one cause," said Ganster.

Some of the common causes of recent dog illnesses include the drinking of stagnant rainwater, stomach bugs, and pets eating recently recalled pig ear treats, which could have salmonella.